Well, most of my posts so far have been on the cookery side, mainly because I’ve not been doing much reading lately. For my first post of the new year then, it’s back to books and the troubles I’ve been having lately.
I’ve recently had a few issues getting into books, and a shortage of unread books in my library left me with limited choices coming up to the Christmas period. I’d ploughed my way through Brandon Sanderson’s Elantris and Warbreaker, thoroughly enjoying both, and had already read his Mistborn trilogy, again loving each of them. I didn’t really think too hard then, before picking up Alloy of Law, but I just couldn’t do it – I managed three pages before I had to put it down. I think it’s the whole issue I have where I like my fantasy novels to be what I call “proper” fantasy, so as soon as guns come into the equation, I immediately lose interest.
I tried going back to something of a classic, in Terry Brooks’ The Sword of Shannara. I’d previously tried to read this and failed, getting about a hundred pages in before giving up. This time then, I started out by skipping those first hundred or so pages and although I tried pretty hard to stick with it, I gave up again. I did manage another 150-200 pages, but given the size of the book, that’s still not much more than a scratch of the surface.
I think the main problem here was that I was reading along and my mind was drifting off to another fantasy classic as there were just too many parallels – I seemed to be reading about the adventures of a certain Fellowship as they set off on their quest. There was a Dwarf, two Elves this time, some Ranger type folk, a couple of inexperienced youngsters who were central to the quest and of course, the mysterious powerful guy who’s the only one to see the coming danger and seemingly the only one who can do anything about it. They set off from the Council of Elrond but as they can’t go over the mountains, they have to go through the Mines of Moria instead. I gave up at the point where they’d arrived and appeared to be waiting for the Watcher in the Water while someone remembered they had to “speak ‘friend’ and enter”…
My next failed attempt was Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance. I’ve already read the first three in this series, so Inheritance should be fine, but again I just couldn’t get into it. I’ve no idea why with this one, and I guess it’s one left on the shelf for another try later on. So just as I thought all was lost, along came an old favourite to restore my faith in the fantasy genre. I decided to re-read Legend, by David Gemmell. Although it’s one of my all time favourites, I’m not much of a re-reader of books, so I’ve only read Legend the once, something like fifteen years ago. The writing itself may not be as well honed as Gemmell’s later work, but it’s just so easy to just get stuck in and shows how Gemmell still highly deserves his place in those “must-read” lists.
I received some book vouchers for Christmas and where I’d normally use these to go towards a book or two I’ve been waiting for release dates on, I decided this time to get a few books that were already available. Seeing as I’m enjoying David Gemmell once more, I went with Winter Warriors and Hero in the Shadows, as I’d often seen these but not got round to adding them to my collection. I also went through a list of R.A. Salvatore’s Drizzt novels to see what I was missing and have added The Collected Stories… and Gauntlgrym to my collection.
Those will have to wait for a while though, because once I finish with Legend, I have another new author to try out. I recently entered a “name out of the hat” type competition over at www.iwillreadbooks.com and courtesy of the lovely people over at Tor, this arrived on my doorstep this morning: